Art by Francesco Francavilla
Around here, we take zombies seriously. They are the metaphor of our generation, after all. Whether they are shamblers or walkers or completely mutated monsters, we know they are headed for our homes, MAGA hats jauntily askew on their heads. Heads we will be aiming for, by the way. While we maintain real bug-out bags of essentials (you don’t want to see me without coconut oil and coffee), we also keep lists in our heads of all the Black women we’d have on our bug-out squads — the absolute top hitters, thinkers, and tinkerers of time and space. Being that kind of nerd, my list is mostly women from outerspace/the future/sci-fi, and I think you’ll agree — these are women you want on your side when the hordes come.
Team Leader/ Captain: Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) from the Matrix Universe
First of all: martial arts. I mean I definitely want us stocked in machetes and shotguns and such but every now and again we gonna need those hands. Hands that defeated an Agent.
Second of all: she was out there fighting in rebellions and captaining ships. Not just any ship, the most maneuverable ship. So she got skills behind the wheel. And no, I don’t think the Walkers are about to hit up NASA and pursue us into outerspace, but those skills piloting translate. Who ever been mad at spatial intelligence and the ability to anticipate an opponent’s next move and counter it? Sign me up to follow this woman into battle.
Last but not least: Niobe loved Morpheus and probably did even after they broke up, but that didn’t stop her from 1) disagreeing with his blind faith in the oracle and 2) bedding another dude (because she’s a grown woman with grown woman needs.) She has her mind and is willing to make hard choices and sacrifices because of it. That’s the kind of leader you need when you can look around the makeshift fort and know not everybody is gonna make it to the end of the season.
Number Two/ General Badass: Zoe Washburne (Gina Torres) from the Firefly/ Serenity Universe
If she’s not on my team, you shouldn’t trust anything I say, ever. She’s Zoe Washburne. I almost feel like I should type her name repeatedly as explanation. But if we need to get into particulars then let’s do it.
She’s a war veteran so she understands that armed conflict is not romantic or glamorous or something to be sought after. She’s also not afraid to fight and is pretty good at it. She’s good with hand-to-hand combat as well as using weaponry. She’s cool under pressure and can take a signal/hint from her partner in (literal) crime like a champ.
She’s loyal to her friends and considers them family which is exactly what we’d be after the apocalypse.
Ambassador: Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) from Star Trek Prime Universe
Oh, so you thought we was just gonna wander all along the countryside in this here United States and never ever encounter people who don’t speak English? What kind of myopic and spiceless world are we living in? Nah, I can’t walk down the street and meet people who only speak English. Nope. Naw, Nah. We gonna need a communications officer. We about to be as inclusive as a group of zombie apocalypse survivors can be in an unforgiving world.
In the original series, it was easy to discount Uhura as a glorified secretary (and maybe that’s what she was then), but Communications Officer Hoshi Sato on Star Trek: Enterprise cleared all that up (with supporting evidence by the Uhura character in the Star Trek reboot). Uhura was a linguistics expert, code-breaker, and philology (google it).
When you wander into a town comprised solely of people who are not originally from where you’re from, who are you sending into the huddle to make sure they 1) don’t think you’re there to run them for their shit and 2) don’t talk in front of you about killing and eating all y’all? Nyota Uhura, that’s who.
Chief Snake/ Spy: Dame Vaako (Thandie Newton) in the Riddick Universe
Sometime diplomacy don’t work. Sometimes you gotta bring up that conniving ass friend who will stop at nothing to get what they want. And if they are fine as confectioner’s sugar? You on my team, lovely. Just please don’t kill me in my sleep.
Dame Vaako will have the leader of the opposing camp giving us all their weapons and ammo and food and thinking it was their idea all along.
Counselor: Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) in the Star Trek: TNG Universe
Listen, the apocalypse ‘bout to be stressful. We are gonna need to talk through some things. At the very least we are gonna need some grief counseling. She’s from a people known for their listening skills, a people whose world was destroyed and who had to find a way to create home and cling to traditions even as their home was no more. Sounds exactly like what we’d be going through during the apocalypse.
Guinan is like 700 years old so she;’s seen some thangs and in a world full of violence, death, and despair, we are going to need all of the life lessons she can impart.
Plus she ain’t no slouch with the weapons; she can outshoot Warf. Yes, that Warf.
Person who dies first
Gamora (Zoe “All Lives Matter” Saldana) in the Guardians of the Galaxy Universe.
Hate it had to be you Gamora, but maybe you can get at the actress who plays you and talk that “what is this all this about being color-blind?” talk with her. Because we finna lock her out of the camp.